A Prayer for the Necromancer

The Shinigami Tomes Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - General
344 Pages
Reviewed on 06/02/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Justine Reyes for Readers' Favorite

Beware, never judge a book by its cover. C. Wain’s debut novel A Prayer for the Necromancer is the first volume in his book series titled The Shinigami Tomes. A Prayer for the Necromancer tells the tale of Kaze who is “a mage of sorts.” It opens in a room at an inn, and although readers aren’t told the time period in which this fantasy is based, they will be keen to note that it does not take place in our own universe, but instead it takes place in a universe called Oar where there are four dimensions, the New World being one of them and another being Blacuir, a world of darkness.

C. Wain paints for us a vivid world full of action, adventure, and the familiar struggle between good and evil. There are certain things in this book that fans of manga and anime will quickly recognize, such as the way spells are cast, the Shinigami world, and so on. I know dark fantasy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it is an acquired taste, but after reading I can honestly say that I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. A Prayer for the Necromancer is a new take on the traditional western fantasy genre; it fuses medieval fantasy with eastern mythos. While I was reading A Prayer for the Necromancer I found myself at the edge of my seat, audibly cursing when time and time again the main character was thrown into danger. It is a worthwhile read.

Robin Goodfellow

The Shinigami Tomes Vol. 1: A Prayer for the Necromancer by C. Wain is an epic fantasy about setting your hatred aside, and retaining your humanity in the midst of the dead. Kaze is the last of the House of Niss, a royal family of necromancers, and is out for revenge against his father’s killer. When he goes to the village of Traqui to meet one of his former servants, he meets a young woman named Aline, with whom he subsequently becomes infatuated. But when a horde of ghouls attacks the village and kills Aline, Kaze must do whatever it takes to give her back her life, even if it means ending his. Meanwhile, the corrupt King Frizas has trampled over everyone in order to get to his throne. But when he realizes the power that the blood tome carries, the king will stop at nothing to achieve that power, even if it means cutting down anyone against him, whether they be enemies, allies, or even friends. Wain delves into the mythical world of the Shinigami in order to show readers just how human the characters can be.

The fact that Kaze became a demi-ghoul in the story was interesting. When the book begins, Wain introduces these ghouls as those who would destroy anything in their path. These creatures bathe in the blood of everyone they meet, innocent or not, and would not hesitate to mutilate those unfortunate enough to come their way. When Kaze becomes a part of these creatures, I’ll admit I was rather disgusted. However, Kaze has oftentimes danced with Death, right up to the very edge. So it wasn’t particularly surprising. The same could be said for any creature that’s been forced to throw their own humanity away. Because, after all, in order to reaffirm what you are, you have to become something more, something inhuman. Personally, I found this book curiously lovable. I play Skyrim, and indulge in other fantastical pursuits. I considered necromancers evil, or anti-heroes, at best. Generally speaking, I didn’t think they could resurface to the human world once they’d given themselves up to their more supernatural pursuits. However, I’m glad to say that Kaze proved me wrong. It doesn’t hurt that the book has an enjoyable plot. As such, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy fantasy tales in general.

K.J. Simmill

Kaze had been sentenced to death, but his foes, including the High Mage King himself and the resources at his disposal, had greatly underestimated his abilities. Dark magic had been banished from the kingdom, along with anyone who had once practiced it, and Kaze's crime was returning, or at least that was the reason presented. You would think that after all he had done a debt would be owed; instead the king has a secret to hide, and seeks to further his own ambitions. Kaze will not forgive the treachery, and vows to expose him and his dark agenda. There is more to the king and his desires than meets the eye, and the very fate of the land is in jeopardy. A quest so large starts with a mission so simple; to save a life.

The first thing that springs to mind when reading A Prayer for the Necromancer: The Shinigami Tomes Book 1 is that author C. Wain has to be a fan of anime, or perhaps has been inspired by some along the way. There is just an air of anime about this book. C. Wain writes in a simple, easy to follow style and introduces enough mystery and subtleties so that you want to keep exploring the pages. If magic, the supernatural, gods, adversaries, grudges and secrets, presented in an anime-like fashion are what you are looking for, then this book may be right up your alley. As the first book in the series, it does set some good scenes and the characters, whilst sometimes generic, have their own little spark that keeps them interesting.

Sarah Westmoreland

Kaze is a Necromancer, the last of the royal Niss line. Aline was a simple village girl with no desire to be owned by a man. Their acquaintance was still very young when a violent twist of fate tore them apart, seemingly forever. Moved to action by feelings he had never known before meeting the girl, Kaze finds himself begging an otherworldly being to save Aline, no matter the cost. The price of being a hero is a steep one, but it’s nothing compared to what is waiting for Kaze and Aline in the future. Forever linked by dark magic and a growing bond, Kaze and Aline will have to rely on one another as they struggle to master dangerous new powers that they were granted as a result of the dark magic. But will their efforts be enough to protect humanity?

A Prayer for the Necromancer, the first volume in the Shinigami Tomes series by C. Wain, is a fascinating fantasy story of epic proportions. The widespread world building that the novel is founded on has been incredibly well done, and presents a wide array of creatures, races, and cultures for its characters to explore. The characters themselves are well written, with unique voices, personalities, and amazingly complex histories to discover. The world is explored in depth, but it doesn’t choke out the story. I greatly enjoyed exploring this wonderful story, and I look forward to seeing where C. Wain takes this story in future volumes of the series!

K.C. Finn

A Prayer for the Necromancer is a rich and dark fantasy novel by author C. Wain, and the first book in The Shinigami Tomes series. The story follows the disgraced Kaze Niss, a necromancer feared by many but truly known by few, and the young and beautiful Aline, a simple village girl embroiled in his pursuit of some truly fascinating magic. This adult novel encompasses the darkest and lightest parts of the human soul, exploring war, blood, death, conspiracy, intrigue and even romance on its winding and unexpected journey. As Niss draws closer to the oldest legends of creation, death waits at every corner, and this grim theme plagues us and him throughout the novel.

C. Wain’s writing style is coherent and fluid, with vivid descriptions that leap off the page, but A Prayer for the Necromancer will be an acquired taste due to its deliberately dark subject matter. For me, being a fan of dark anime like Black Butler, Death Note and Castlevania, I found A Prayer for the Necromancer exciting and lavishly morbid, whilst also providing the glib humour and modern dialogue which I’ve come to expect from the dark fantasy genre on the small screen. It was delightful to read a novel which elevates this genre into the literary world. Kaze was a perfect tormented hero: attractive, suave and wonderful with words. I followed his journey avidly through some vivid world-building. Aline began as a bog-standard headstrong heroine, but she developed wonderfully as the tale went on. I’d definitely recommend A Prayer for the Necromancer to dark fantasy and anime fans.

Lesley Jones

In A Prayer for the Necromancer by C. Wain, Kaze, a mage of sorts, and the last in a royal family of necromancers is out for revenge against his father's killer. On his travels, he meets Aline, a young village girl, and they soon fall in love. When the village is attacked and Aline is killed, Kaze's only objective is to return Aline back to life and he is willing to sacrifice anything, including his own mortality, to make it happen. At the same time, in another kingdom, the corrupt King Frizas has finally taken control of the throne by killing anyone who stands in his way. He has banished Kaze from the kingdom and all who practice black magic. Kaze returns and is instantly sentenced to death. But the king underestimates Kaze's power and his unwavering desire to expose the vile, ruthless king’s secret agenda.

If you enjoy a story that has twists, turns and surprises throughout, then A Prayer for the Necromancer by C. Wain is a perfect fantasy novel for you. This is a captivating story of good battling to overcome evil and injustice. Each main character is excellently created and distinct. The strong-minded Aline and her relationship with Kaze was truly heartwarming. The narration gave the reader further insight into the story line, which was great. The author can build a scene that is so visually realistic it touches every one of your senses. A superb story from start to finish with tension throughout until the explosive ending, which I was not expecting.

Liz Konkel

A Prayer for the Necromancer by C. Wain is the first book in The Shinigami Tomes series. The evil ruler Frizas and his necromancers have dark and deadly plans for the lands. To put an end to Frizas's destruction, Kaze faces his past and turns to a surprising source for help. Others rise up to stop the necromancers, joining together to end Frizas's reign. When Kaze visits an old friend, he finds himself on a journey to save the man's daughter, Aline. He turns to Lord Aras, the most feared of the Death Gods, to save her life, but doing so could cost his life. As the war against Frizas rises, Kaze discovers she could be the one to save them all.

C. Wain has brought to life a dark fantasy adventure, exploring life and death through a world filled with ghouls, necromancers, vampires, mages, and werewolves. It's a dark world with necromancers destroying and murdering, bloodshed and violence, and several war elements. Some of the moments are a touch bizarre as the line between life and death is rather thin, but everything feels like a natural part of the world and everything is brought together in an intriguing way. Wain weaves in scenes from the past to explore a slight origin story for both Kaze and Frizas, while also explaining what led to events in the present and the connection they have to each other. Kaze has a dark journey where he rediscovers his humanity as he risks his life in order to save another, and finds his heart belonging to a surprising place.

Romance is in the background of the story, but it provides more heart to the character. He slowly explores this other side to himself and while he has moments of seeing himself in a dark aspect he also sees more of a hero in himself. Aline's journey is vivid and empowering, dark and gritty as she goes from being a young woman who longs for more to getting caught up in this world of death where she finds herself and finds her power. She goes from having few opportunities, with marriage as her best option, to becoming a heroic and powerful person who is willing to risk everything to save others. A Prayer for the Necromancer is a journey of sacrifice in a race to save a dark world from evil necromancers. A must-read for anyone who loves dark fantasy!